Nutrition and behavior tracking is not just about weighing every gram of rice and obsessing over every step. When executed properly, tracking is a useful tool that can bring about realizations and positive changes in behaviors for many clients. If your client is struggling with compliance or progression in a specific area, tracking nutrition and behaviors may be the answer. Here is how to start doing just that with five different data points.
Tracking can be used in various forms for any client. But before your clients can track, they need education on healthy lifestyle changes so they are connected to their value. These are referred to as the OPEX Basic Lifestyle Guidelines (BLGs). Once clients are aware of the BLGs, then they can begin to track certain metrics around them. Learn the BLGs and how to coach them yourself in this free coaching course.
Like our method of coaching, the decision of whether or not to start tracking a metric is based on the individual. If your client isn’t progressing as they should and you believe a certain part of their lifestyle, diet, or training is the cause, it may be helpful to track the limiting factor. This will give you more control of the variable, allowing you and the client to see how it is impacting their progress. However, for some, behavior and nutrition tracking can create negative patterns and restriction, so you may want to avoid it altogether or choose metrics to track that they do not have negative emotions around.
The first step to tracking a metric with a client is to get the client on board. For it to work effectively the client needs to be compliant, and to build compliance the client needs to be bought into the idea and willing to participate.
A great time to broach this subject is during a consultation. As you sit down for your monthly check-in, bring up the reason you believe the client should track a certain metric, the metric itself, what change you hope tracking will create, and finally a date to reassess the progress. You must also have a clear and efficient way for them to track this metric, whether through an app, spreadsheet, or a journal.
Setting a time frame is crucial to tracking success. After this time frame reconvene and assess the efficacy of tracking that metric.
Tracking steps is a great way to monitor recovery and activity levels outside of the gym. This metric can be used with a wide variety of clients but is quite useful with beginners who are new to exercising and are trying to move more in their daily routine.
Steps can be tracked by using a smartphone, smartwatch, or a simple pedometer. After you assess your client’s current daily step count you can prescribe them a daily target to help them increase their Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT).
Sleep quality is a good metric to track when a client is not recovering well, you’re trying to create healthy patterns, or just wanting to boost their energy throughout the day. This metric can be used with a wide variety of clients ranging from beginners to advanced, as sleep affects everyone’s performance and health.
Heart Rate Variability (HRV) monitors such as a Whoop or Oura Ring are the best method of tracking sleep quality. If this is not available a personal journal in which the client notes how well they slept will suffice, including the time they go to bed and wake up and the number of times they woke up in the night.
Daily energy is a good metric to track for beginners to advanced clients. A simple way to do this is have your clients rate their energy on a scale of 1-10 at specific times throughout the day, for example, 6am, 8am, 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm, 6pm, 8pm, and 10pm. Tracking food quality and quantity can also give some insight into daily energy.
Tracking food quality is a great way to create healthy habits, improve recovery, and performance. General population clients new to health and fitness will see the most results from this, but all clients can benefit from tracking this metric.
Tracking food quality can be done in a number of different ways. It can be as simple as creating a daily number of vegetables goal or looking at their food quality inside of a daily food log and having a conversation around this at each consultation.
The final metric is food quantity. This is what most people think of when they hear the word “tracking” in regards to health and fitness. Before tracking food quantity there are several lifestyle steps that are important to set a foundation. But for clients with specific performance or body composition goals, or a lack of awareness around serving sizes, tracking the quantity of food consumed is necessary for some period of time.
Tracking this metric can include weighing and counting calories, manually logging meals, eyeballing serving sizes and tracking, or simply aiming for a number of meals throughout the day.
Tracking behaviors is a great tool to create realizations and behavior changes for the right client, but it will not work for everyone. Each of your clients is unique. Some will respond well to a lot of guidance and some will be overwhelmed by this level of detail. Some will respond better to conversations in person, while others will love messaging. What will determine your success as a coach is your ability to learn what works for each client.
How do you accomplish this?
Through conducting monthly consultations with your clients where you develop relationships with them and figure what makes them tick inside and outside of the gym. Learn how to conduct thorough client consultations and get the skills needed to work with any client with our free Coach’s Toolkit. Sign up today and become the coach that gets results.